New science is enabling dairy farms to become antibiotic-free

Farmers attending the recent Dale Farm Somatic Cell Count (SCC) advisory event, hosted by Dale Farm on the Co. Tyrone farm of Alan and Ian Armstrong, were told that new science is helping livestock farmers worldwide to proactively deal with the challenge of bacterial infections.

These new treatment options, which are not focused on the use of antibiotics, can provide production agriculture with a genuine response to the challenge of antibiotic resistance.

This was the key point made by Adam Robinson, the man heading up AHV International in the UK and Ireland.

“Antimicrobial resistance is not a new phenomenon,” he said.

“The plant kingdom has been dealing with this issue almost since the beginning of time.

“Fortunately, modern scientific research has succeeded in identifying how nature has successfully dealt with this problem.

The good news is that we can convert this science into practical solutions for livestock farmers, who are having to deal with the disease-related impact of bacterial infection on a regular basis.

Robinson continued. “What we now know is that bacteria must gather together in groups in order to impact on the host animal. To make this happen they must communicate with each other through a process called ‘quorum sensing’. In essence, individual bacteria emit signal molecules so as to make this grouping process come about.

“In response, AHV products have been developed to disrupt this communication process, thereby abolishing the impact that pathogenic bacteria could have when entering a host animal.

We also know that attacking bacteria produce a biofilm around their cells, which acts to prevent attacks by antibiotics and the animal’s own immune cells.

It was explained that the AHV product range acts to break down these biofilms, and supports the cow’s natural immune system. It’s because of this combined activity, that invading pathogenic bacteria are more predisposed to attack by the host’s immune system.

The end result is a process which directly impacts on the ability of pathogenic bacteria to cause disease without a reliance on antibiotics.

It was also outlined that the AHV product range comes in a mix of boluses and drenches. They comprise a combination of natural feed supplements. The treatments act specifically to restore the normal bacterial population balance in those parts of the host’s body that have become subject to pathogenic attack.